At Melbourne's neighbourhood Middle Eastern cafe Kamel, head chef Naveen Kumar teams finely sliced fennel, orange segments, kalamata olives and an orange juice reduction with roasted pork belly and an intense parsley, garlic and fennel seed sauce. ''I love the flavour and crunchy freshness of fennel with pork,'' says co-owner Mindy Dunn. ''It's such a wonderful marriage with the sweetness of the oranges.''
The Age: Good Food Lift-out 'Hot food with Jill Dupleix (previously The Epicure) - Tuesday 29th April 2014
"the air heady with scents of ground spices…dishes sing with simplicity and spice... a quinoa tabbouleh bright with cucumber, mint & pomegranate cuts through the richness of a sticky beef with molokhia (Egyptian spinach), and lifts a chicken tagine with roasted vegetables. Weekends, Kamel serves breakfast with Turkish bread or macadamia dukkah".
The Age: Good Food Under $30 – 2014
"Kamel's mezze-style plates are designed for sharing but that's easier said than done when the food's this good. Spoon-tender calamari coils exude heady aromas of green chilli & complex spices... Half serves of most dishes mean you can ward off food envy and not blow the budget, well versed staff help you through the most difficult decisions"
The Age: Good Food Under $30 – 2013 (previously Cheap Eats.)
"You feel you've arrived in the land of plenty here when your food arrives…Kamel serves these Middle-Eastern inspired dishes in luxe surrounds: the wood-lined courtyard has an abundance of cushions, while large ornate brass lamps decorate the interior. Service is friendly & attentive"
The Age: Cheap Eats 2012
"This short and sharp list is perfect pitched to Kamel's Middle Eastern food. The eclectic range of wines by the glass set the scene with a number of bright, breezy whites and soft, supple reds. The main list continues the theme with benchmark wines comfortably rubbing shoulders with newwave producers."
2012 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards
"In Arabic mezze means 'to savour in little bites', and Kamel cherry-picks the very best Mediterranean-rim flavours for it's "I'll-have-one-of-everything-please' menu... Chunky fritters of zucchini, corn, feta and chickpea flour are satisfying in the extreme, but the pistachio crumbed goat's cheese served with fig paste and herby Turkish bread is a show-stopper..."
The Age: Cheap Eats Guide 2011
"Vegetarians, you won't be a meal loser at Kamel. Dolmades, Moroccan pumpkin and spring onion puffs with smoked paprika relish, tabbouleh with pomegranate dressing, fleshy field mushrooms with feta, and more. It's good vego, and plenty of it."
The Age: Cheap Eats Guide 2011
– Inner South & Bayside Lowdown for Vegetarians
“..Group Eats - you have one vegan, two gluten-intolerants, one egg-allergic and a raw foodist. Where do you go? Kamel, offers a broad Middle Eastern vego spread...”
Epicure Tuesday 8th March 2011 "The Vegetarian Issue"
“..if you were thinking of storing away that little something for winter, you can stuff your hump to bursting here and still have coins left over...”
The Age: Cheap Eats Guide 2010
“Sharing a spread from cosy Kamel’s inventive mezze can revive those memories of shifting Sahara sands”
The Age: Cheap Eats Guide 2008
“grazing is the way to go… bring a crowd and eat up big in the snug dining room or head upstairs for a more intimate vibe”
The Age: Cheap Eats Guide 2007
“For early risers, there are loads of great brekkies, some given an Arabian twist, such as Butterbeans with feta and Turkish bread”
The Age: Cheap Eats Guide 2006
“graze on tapas-style dishes in this dimly lit Middle Eastern place… such as the delicious, slow-cooked pork tagine”
The Age: A2 Saturday 30 June 2007
“cheaper than chips and packed full of Middle Eastern and African-influenced fare… sincere intention to please the customer”
John Weldon, The Age: A2 2006
“lamb cutlets were delicious, tender and just cooked…wine list is no-nonesense; they have a good beer list and the coffee is first rate… great value for money”
Graham Pearce, Sunday Herald Sun 10 Feb 2002
“pairing of interesting spices and seasonal local produce is endlessly tasty... a haven for seafood lovers”
Herald Sun: MX 16 Nov 2001